According to data from Össur Webshop (ossurwebshop.co.uk), 75 percent of the UK are not looking forward to growing older, associating it with illness and loneliness. But why fear ageing when you…
The 30-something years often represent an era of settling down after the decade of turbulence your 20s may have bought. Perhaps you’ve established a career you love, have bought a home, or have married and started a family.
“People tend to hit 30 and panic that they haven’t reached personal mile stones yet,” explains holistic life coach Milla Lascelles (millalascelles.com). “We tend to live our lives in the past and what was, or we live in the future and what we’ve got to do. We rarely sit in the present and just notice the here and now, such as how far we’ve come and what we’ve achieved.” Milla encourages you to try to get into the habit of simply being in the moment and practising meditation. This can alter the way you perceive things and set you up for a more positive outlook on life to take into later decades.
Geeta Vara (geetavara.co.uk), author of Ayurveda: Ancient Wisdom For Modern Wellbeing, echoes this point, highlighting that putting too much pressure on yourself can lead to ill health. “As women are more career focused than ever before, stresses creep in as they juggle work with the desire to start a family,” she says. “Creating a healthy work-life balance is key in this phase of womanhood to prevent hormonal imbalances and adrenal fatigue. Manage your mood and stress levels by taking regular time out for yourself to rest and play. Set healthy boundaries with your time and opt for nurturing ayurvedic therapies, such as abhyanga or a shirodhara, to soothe the stress and aid sleep. Healthy fertility is also supported by ensuring there is joy, happiness and minimal worry in your life, coupled with a cleansed digestion and a wholesome diet based on your constitution. Sleep impacts the hormones and cellular repair, so be sure to get plenty of rest, ideally between 10pm-6am and especially between 10pm-2am (when your liver naturally cleanses and therefore impacts the skin health, energy and immunity).”
“In yours 30s, your metabolism is slowing down so you may find it harder to shift any extra pounds,” says Milla. “Perhaps you’re at the pinnacle of your working career but find you’re reaching for coffee and sugary processed food to keep you going. Not only does stress prompt 80 percent of your appetite and eating habits, an estimated 75 percent to 90 percent of all doctor visits are for stress-related issues. I really recommend replacing coffee with a matcha or a green tea if you’re an anxious person or if you experience a lot of stress in your day. Also, remember that more colour means more vitamins and nutrients when it comes to food. We tend to live off diets consisting of beige foods, starting the day with cereal followed by a sandwich for lunch and pasta for supper.” Your 30s, therefore, are a crucial time to break this habit and ensure you begin to choose naturally coloured foods if you’re not already. Milla also comments on how you eat. “Take time to sit at your desk and eat your lunch,” she recommends. “Chew your food and be present, noticing the tastes and textures.”
When it comes to beauty, the 30s are an ideal time to set good habits to prevent signs of ageing on your skin. One ingredient you should be looking out for is hyaluronic acid. “Hyaluronic acid is a secret weapon to anti-ageing, as it keeps your skin looking youthful and plump without stripping it,” says Georgina Hamilton from Procoal (procoal.co.uk). “Due to the moisture-binding ingredient in it, which is called humectant, you will find your skin looking moisturised and healthy. To see the best results, use a serum, eye cream and moisturiser that contain hyaluronic acid in them all. Using these will boost your skin’s firmness and improve its elasticity in just two weeks.” Another ingredient to look out for is bee venom, formally known as apitoxin. “This is the clear, odourless liquid that’s released from a worker or queen honeybee when it stings,” explains Deborah Mitchell, founder of Heaven Skincare (heavenskincare.com). “It consists of more than 20 known compounds, the most prominent being melittin, a protein that boasts powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Products that use bee venom trick your skin into thinking it’s actually been stung, which causes the body to direct blood toward the area, stimulating the production of collagen, which strengthens tissue, and elastin, which helps the skin to remain taut and bounce back into shape.”
“This is the decade when back pain can often strike,” says Pilates teacher Lyndsay Hirst (yourpilatesphysio.com). “This move is perfect for those who might spend too much time sitting at a desk or bending over looking after young children, as it builds strength in the back extensor muscles to support the spinal joints. It’s called breast stroke prep.”
• Lay on your tummy with a folded towel or cushion under your forehead. Your arms should be resting by your sides.
• Take a deep breath in to prepare. As you exhale, lift your shoulders from the floor, followed by your hands, then your forehead. Imagine pulling your shoulder blades down towards the base of your spine.
• Inhale, then lower your shoulders and hands back to the floor. Make sure you keep your pubic bone pressed to the floor during the movement to protect your back.
“As you reach your 40s, if you have suffered stress, the internal health of your cells is also stressed,” says global health and nutrition coach, Alison Stockton. “Often women can neglect their emotional health during this time.” In the past decade, chances are you may have become a mum, returned to work after maternity leave, then worked hard for a promotion, or even felt a loss of identity when your children started school. With this is mind, Alison recommends practising self-love during this time.
“A woman in her 40s is well established in her own rhythm. But what’s important is taking some time to reflect and break any negative habit patterns that are detrimental to health in this phase of life, such as those that are bad for heart health, cholesterol, blood sugars, and nutrient deficiencies,” says Geeta. “Get out and about in nature. It’s one of the most soothing practices to clear a foggy head. Establish a regular practice of meditation to manage mind-body balance. This is a time during which life can also take a toll on mental health, so create a support network.” This attitude towards the mind is supported by Milla who believes there is no point in worrying about what you’ve put your body through over the last 20 years. “In your 40s, there is still time to turn it around. It’s important to make those changes from a place of love of yourself and your body, not a place of self loathing and fear. Remember your body can heal itself through being given the right nutrients.”
“You’re likely in perimenopause in your 40s, so hormones are beginning to change and you could be gaining weight more easily and starting to see changes in your bodily functions,” says Milla. “Up your intake of protein to support your bodily changes and your energy levels. Look to foods such as poultry, legumes, eggs, fish and bone broths for this. Remember the foods you eat aren’t just coming out the other side of you – they’re becoming your DNA, skin, blood, hair and nails. Food is medicine.” It’s also important to use foods to keep your doshas balanced. “There is some pitta excess in the body and that still needs to be balanced,” says ayurvedic practitioner Dr Deepa Apte (ayurvedapura.com). “Focus on bitter, astringent and naturally sweet foods. Anything green is bitter, so green smoothies are very good to help balance this phase. Fluids such as flavoured water like cumin water (1 tbsp cumin seeds soaked in a jug of water over night), saffron tea and coconut water are beneficial to remove excess inflammation from the body, too.”
“At the age of 40, you would have experienced the signs of ageing, which might mean wrinkles,” says Georgina. “You will also notice grey hair, usually more visible in dark hair rather than blonde.” In order to combat these signs, Georgina makes the following recommendations.
• Use a cream or balm-based cleanser for removing make-up with a flannel or muslin cloth, then use a liquid exfoliater that is gentle to use day and night.
• Moisturise religiously! During the day, use lotion containing SPF, and for night, use one that is packed full of antioxidants. Don’t forget an eye cream, either.
• Detox your skin by making a weekly habit of using a face or sheet mask.
• To give your complexion an extra boost, use a serum which will work further down the skin and target the layers where deep set wrinkles are.
Milla also recommends using rose quartz rollers. “They are also fantastic tools for anti-ageing, reducing wrinkles and fine lines,” she adds. “Keep in your fridge (or freezer) and use on your face on a daily basis.”
“This is the decade that most people start to become more conscious of the effects ageing takes on their bodies, so make sure your body stays supple with Pilates stretches,” explains Lyndsay. “The cobra stretch is great as it targets the whole spine and really keeps your spinal joints flexible.” Here’s how to do it.
• Lay on your tummy with your palms facing down, either side of your head.
• Inhale to prepare, exhale to push through your hands, to lift your head and chest away from the floor, keeping your thighs on the floor. Keep your shoulders down away from your ears and try to lift your chest bone up and out
• Inhale to lower back down to the floor. Repeat this move three times a week to notice a difference.
“Women in their 50s are starting to really stand up for all that they are and all that they are still yet to become,” says Alison. “They’re understanding more about health, changing lifestyle habits, decreasing toxic stress from external factors, and truly knowing what they desire from life and taking the steps to create it. A more holistic and ayurvedic approach for women of this age is very rewarding on the body, as the overwhelming stresses of the past can now be removed.”
Fifty – half a century! And if this didn’t sound like a huge milestone, 52 is the average age the menopause starts. “Here, you’ve got night sweats, hot flushes, vaginal dryness and mood changes to deal with,” says Milla. “It’s really important to understand how food, lifestyle and even your home environment can help alleviate or balance symptoms.” Geeta agrees: “Many women dread this life phase but, if you have looked after your health in the previous decades, it doesn’t have to be a painful process. Your experience of menopause is related to your prakruti (mind-body type). Herbs such as shatavari and ashwagandha can navigate you through a healthy change. As you enter the vata phase, dryness starts to kick in, so hydration becomes a focus – not only from water but also from healthy fats (in moderation).”
Dr Deepa notes that this phase of life starts turning more towards dryness and heat, characterised by the vata dosha. “Vata has qualities of being dry, cold and light, so the aim is to prevent dryness and coldness in the body.” With this is mind, she recommends avoiding excess bitter, spicy and astringent foods as they are known to cause dryness in the body. “Eat warming foods, focusing on gentle spices such as cinnamon, cumin and cardamom, to help promote warmth in your body.” Milla also suggests that, during the 50s, it’s a great time (as is any age) to go organic. “Aim to get clean veg that is pesticide-free into your life, as well as local and seasonal veg where possible. Buy some flax and sesame seeds, too. Not only do they help with hot flushes but they are also a great source of fibre.” Finally, Alison reminds you be mindful about the onset of autoimmune issues such as arthritis. “This should be approached with a gentle anti-inflammatory diet,” she recommends. This refers to eating plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy oils and fish.
“For women experiencing menopausal changes, Dr Deepa recommends making massage a regular part of your wellbeing routine. “Ayurvedic oil massages like full body abhyanga massage and udvartana (process of invigorating the whole body through a powder massage) will help to stimulate healthy blood circulation,” she says. You may also notice grey hairs by this age which can be a daunting part of the ageing process. The good news, is that grey and silver toned tresses are becomingly increasingly popular colours of choice. However, if you prefer to dye over them, why not use this as an opportunity to go for a bold new shade? We recommend Tints of Nature Henna Cream (£9.50, tintsofnature.com) which has been carefully formulated with natural henna and plant extracts to provide a safer and gentler way to transform your hair.
“Making sure you have good core strength and posture is a really important factor to prevent problems associated with things such as osteoporosis arising,” says Lyndsay. “The following core-strengthening exercise can be done daily to keep your abdominals, glutes and back muscles strong to support your posture. It will also help improve your balance and co-ordination.” Here’s how to do it:
• Start by lying on your stomach, draw the lower abdominal area in towards your spine, (imagine you have a tray of drinks on your back and you’re aiming to keep each drink still).
• Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, straighten your right leg behind you at the same time as reaching your left arm above your head (as though you are trying to reach the wall behind you with your toes and the wall in front of you with your fingers).
• Inhale to return, then repeat on the opposite side.
“Throughout all the stages of your life, it really is important to remember that health is an inside job – the more we nurture our internal and mental health, the greater our longevity and vitality,” explains Alison. “The importance of this can be overlooked, especially at 60. Take back control of being in tune with what your body needs. Never give in to ‘I’m too old for that.’ Look to Helen Mirram, Judy Dench and even Queen Elizabeth, who are fine examples of those who practise self-care and confidence throughout their decades.”
As you hit the peak of the vata dosha in this part of life, your mind can become overactive and you might struggle with insomnia or disturbed sleep. “Adding bedtime rituals to your evening is a sure way to help catch a good night’s sleep,” says Geeta. “Take a warm bath, massage your feet with a warm oil; unwind and relax with candles and music in the last hour while you sip on a hot milk spiced with nutmeg and cardamom. Ensure you are in complete darkness, a cosy bed with the right pillows and some ventilation.”
“Up your lutein,” says Milla. “This is the age during which we can start having problems with cataracts, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting carotenoid through foods such as carrots, egg yolks and dark leafy green veg. Digestion starts to slow down in your 60s, too, so it’s important to increase your fibre by eating more whole vegetables and fruits, adding more wholemeal, granary breads, beans, lentils, and sprinkling flaxseeds on your food. Maturing can often cause a decreased appetite, so it’s important to choose the most healing foods to make sure they are giving you the right nutrients. The body becomes less efficient at absorbing vitamins and minerals in your 60s and 70s, so make sure you are eating well.
In your 60s and beyond, it’s even more important to nourish your complexion. “Avoid strong chemicals and opt for everything that can bring a glow to your face,” says Beata Aleksandrowicz from Pure Massage (puremassage.com). “I always recommend a natural facial oil that’s jam packed full of nourishing antioxidants and vitamins. Rose hip oil is especially regenerative and argan oil is a wonder oil for more mature skin.” The best way to get the most from these beauty products and boost your skincare in the process is to do a facial massage. “Every technique that will promote the lifting, soothing and relaxing of muscles will have a positive impact on your face,” explains Beeta. “For example, use gentle tapping and lifting techniques along the jawline as you apply your favourite cream. Ensure you massage the facial oil onto your skin in firm upward motions. This stimulates your muscles and circulation, in turn bringing more oxygen to the skin. This also makes the skin look more alive thanks to the increased flow of blood.”
“A combination of the moves shown previously in each decade would be best for you in your 60s,” explains Lyndsay. “However, if you wanted just one exercise to practise regularly, I would suggest a standing exercise that will work your back muscles, abdominals, hips and pelvis, as well as challenge your balance and improve your posture.” Try this:
• Standing with your feet hip-width distance. Lengthen your spine up to the ceiling.
• Pull the lower abdominal muscles in, take a deep breath. As you exhale, perform a squat whilst reaching your arms out to shoulder height. Hold this position, then inhale to lift both heels (this is tough, so initially you might want to try holding on to a chair or table).
• Exhale to lower the heels and return to the start position. Only add the heel lift if you feel confident to do so.
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